National Review’s Kevin Williamson, aforementioned, once told me he was a libertarian anarchist. Although I never saw evidence for the claim, I took him at his word that he was a friend behind enemy lines. (It’s also true that I don’t study NRO’s output.) In the couple of exchanges we had, Williamson seemed far less uptight about intellectual differences than most Americans. Myself, so long as ad hominem is avoided and respect is shown—I can easily befriend ideological adversaries. And I do. One of the nicest gentlemen, for example, is Benn Steil, director of International Economics Council on Foreign Relations. I can’t imagine Dr. Steil churlishly unFollowing me. We differ. So what? I enjoyed his book, “The Battle of Bretton Woods,” immensely.
The UnFollow/UnFriend churlishness is not the province of neoconservatives and Republicans alone.
From experience, libertarians can be as uncivilized in their interactions. The column “Schooling Beck On Trump’s Nullification Promise” mentions “Ivan Eland’s learned rundown of U.S. presidents,” Recarving Rushmore: Ranking the Presidents on Peace, Prosperity, and Liberty. I contacted Eland as a courtesy. As did I ask him if he would kindly reciprocate with a Follow on Twitter. Unlike the polite Lawrence W. Reed of the Foundation for Economic Freedom, Eland has simply ignored me. Perhaps he’s on vacation.
Manners are a species of morals. Other than to hate mail or rude mail, I respond to all letters I receive—to each and every one. Many thousands since 1998, which is when I got my first newspaper column, in Canada. Due to time constraints, my replies are laconic. But if a reader has bothered to read my work and comment on what I have to say—then it’s only decent and proper to reciprocate.
I haven’t always been firm in this resolve, but I try my very best. If a colleague writes, I reply, whether I like them and their stuff or not. Ignoring a correspondent demonstrates contempt for that individual—a contempt that reflects on the rude “interlocutor.”
— Ilana Mercer (@IlanaMercer) January 23, 2016
Christoph Dollis: Well, I’ve always known Kevin Williamson as a moron. Sorry that it hurts, and I get that (I’ve had similar experiences), but in my long-held opinion about Mr. Williamson, you haven’t lost much. I’m pretty sure Williamson is a staunch friend of arch cuckservative Ed Morrissey of Hot Air. ‘Nuff said.”